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Autumn Silver and Brown (score & parts) - WW5

Composer: Meier, Frances

Publisher: TrevCo

Edition: 71216


Autumn Silver and Brown
for woodwind quintet: flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon
by Frances Meier - American composer, organist and pianist


The inspiration for this piece is a bird call, that of the mourning dove.  The call goes up a fourth and then back down, almost but not quite to the initial note. Instead, the pitch is somewhere between a fourth and a major third and it repeats three times.  This is the opening theme to Autumn Silver and Brown, and the final pitch is played by having one instrument come down the fourth and a second instrument come down the major third.  

The piece is in a three-part, ABA form with a coda.  The A parts are based on the opening theme, and the B part is a fugue which uses a variation of the opening theme as its subject.  The coda reiterates the opening theme, and the ending cadence comes like a sigh.    

The mood is that of late autumn, almost a total contrast to the vibrancy of summer. It’s quiet.  Restful.  Subdued.  The light is muted, nothing is growing, and the wildlife that hasn’t left already is burrowing in for the winter.  Late autumn has a unique stillness to it and a feeling of peaceful acceptance of the inevitable coming of winter.  

The piece is entitled “Autumn Silver and Brown” to capture the quiet beauty of the countryside, which, while not colorless, covers only a narrow palette.  The brilliant colors of earlier autumn are gone, and what remains are earth tones, shades of brown and gray and yes, silver.  In New Mexico and elsewhere, the grasses lining the roadsides and covering the fields turn silver and ripple as the wind blows through them.  The feeling is of serenity, and the very limitation of the colors contributes to the stillness and peace.  


Frances Meier received a BA in piano performance from Duke University and a Master of Music in composition from Catholic University. She was a featured composer in 1999 for Pro Coro Women Composers concert and a commissioned composer in 2004 for the New Mexico Music Teachers Association.  Her compositions have been performed by the Los Alamos Choral Society both in the US and Europe.  Published pieces include “A Winter Carol,” an arrangement for choir and piano of “In the Bleak Midwinter” (Augsburg Fortress) and “New Mexico Mesas,” for piano and horn (Corniworld Publications).  She is a Colleague of the American Guild of Organists and plays regularly for the United Church of Los Alamos, New Mexico. She was the guest organist with the Los Alamos Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Saint Saens’s Organ Symphony in November, 2008 and has performed solo piano concerts throughout the Los Alamos area.